Lessons

The Wisdom Within Each Moment


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A Very Special Birthday – New Lessons

Sometime next month, our baby cat, Oz will turn one year old. This is a very special occasion for anyone, but it is especially true of little Oz. We don’t really know what day that will be. Oz was outside alone, wandering by himself at about three months old, when he was picked up and taken to the humane society. He was a lost boy whose origins and family were unknown, a stray as we say. How frightened he must have been, not to mention hungry and uncomfortable. So many strays don’t make it until their first birthday. He was fed and taken care of at the shelter, the best they could, but poor little Oz contracted every shelter illness imaginable from the other inhabitants. His eyes swelled shut with mucus. He couldn’t breathe through his nose. His ears were full of dirt and infection. Fleas feasted on his little body at will and intestinal parasites ravished his food. It is only luck that none of these were fatal diseases. He was neutered, immunized and bathed repeatedly as the humans tried to make him fit for adoption. Not yet more than two pounds.

He lives with us now. Although he could barely see when we brought him home, his gratitude overwhelmed me as he explored the toys we gave him and the soft warm bed that was his. He seemed to live as if the world suddenly became filled with gold. He couldn’t play hard enough or eat enough or purr enough. He never whined or complained in any way. Our vet was horrified when she first saw him, but with a lot of love, attention and her guidance, Oz slowly regained his health. He suffers from many psychological wounds. He is very frightened of humans and although we can love on him sometimes and he responds with gargantuan purrs, at other times he flees from us in terror, from what we cannot imagine.  He also doesn’t know how to do two things that Siamese are famous for. He doesn’t know he can jump and he doesn’t know how to meow. By the time our Thai was six months old he was jumping to the top of the bathroom door – much to my horror. Oz still just climbs like a kitten or elderly cat. He spent so much time in an isolation cage at the shelter, there was nowhere to jump. Although most Siamese are persistent talkers, Oz only makes little squeaking noises when he plays with his sister, Melody. The rest of the time he is eerily silent.

We chose the Spring Equinox, March 20, for Oz’s birthday. As we begin to see the signs of the renewal of the Earth, we will also celebrate a new birth for Oz. He’s healthy now and much loved. He has the chance to grow into the magnificent animal he was meant to be. As I think on what he’s been through – that I know of – it causes me to reflect on humanity’s intolerance of any disruption in our lives. How angry we get if the cable goes out or the lines are long at the grocery. How we complain and bicker and make each other miserable over the little things in life. Imagine for a second what Oz has endured. He did it all without any way of knowing why.  He’s a survivor, not quite one year old. He’s my hero.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Valentine’s Day – first published 1-7-16

About the only thing February has going for it (unless you like cold weather) is Valentine’s Day. It is a contentious holiday at best. I am as romantic as the next person, maybe even more so. I’ve had a few really good Valentine’s Days. I got engaged once on that day. Can’t get more romantic than that (even though the marriage was not so good). But the really memorable, romantic moments in my life did not fall on February 14th.  For the most part Valentine’s Day is designed for failure. Those who do not have a significant other, or their other isn’t so significant can be very lonely and sad while they imagine the rest of the world in a romantic, blissful encounter. Some receive the contrived and guilt driven obligatory acknowledgement. The card manufacturers do okay and flower shops, restaurants and jewelry stores. There are definitely some people who spend that day celebrating their love for each other. I think that is the key to saving Valentine’s Day. Why is it limited to romantic love which is oftentimes fleeting? Everyone loves someone – their mother, daughter, grandfather, grandson, uncle, best friend, treasured animal friend, co-worker, the list is endless. And why should we stop there? We shouldn’t of course. Imagine a day set aside to express love for all beings on the planet! Imagine no greeting cards, just true expressions of caring and support! There has been a trend of late where many people have begun to widen the circle of those they include in their Valentine tribute. I say we keep that going! Maybe we should start a movement proclaiming Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers but for love! One loving act on that day from each of us would change the world.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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The Garage – New Lessons

Shortly after my parents were married in 1938, my father’s uncles, began building them a house. My parents ended up living in that house their entire married life of over fifty years, so my sisters and I were raised there. It was a nice, well-built home with a basement, and a one car garage beside the house. My father loved his cars. They were always garage kept, serviced and cleaned religiously, and gassed every Saturday night. I am sure (although I wasn’t born yet) that Dad’s car at the time, fit perfectly in that little garage where everything was neat and tidy – tools and such. The problem was that over the years, cars got bigger. By the time I was born in the 1950s Dad had already removed the garage door to accommodate longer cars. I can remember the dilemma that plagued him every time he got a new car. Will it fit? Tools and lawn equipment were eventually relegated to the basement. There was nothing on the garage walls at all. Soon, by the 1960s, we had to squeeze out of the car through barely open doors. Eventually Dad began stopping the car outside for all of us to pile out, before he parked it in the garage. Not long before I moved out in 1972, he fixed something at the front of the garage that the car could lightly tap and he would know it was in as far as it could go.

Isn’t it funny the lengths we will go to accommodate things as they are? I mean, why didn’t he tear the garage down or at least remodel it to make more room? I know what he would say. He would say he couldn’t afford such construction. That may have been true at first, but in later years, I think he could have managed it. For fifty years he fretted over that garage, worried that his cars would be damaged and drove us crazy. I guess it was better to deal with the garage the way it was, than make any major change. After all he was used to it, and the challenges and concerns it brought. Maybe, deep down he even liked them.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Winter – first published 12-2-2015

Here we are again in the middle of winter. I have always considered winter as nothing more than a path to spring. I do enjoy the beautiful winter scenery – from inside my warm house. But participating in winter activities has never been one of my desires. I think it goes back to my childhood. Just like every kid, I became excited when the first snowflake fell. I wanted to go outside and play in the snow, build a snowman, sled, do all the things others seemed to enjoy. My mother, however had other ideas. She would resist for a time. Claiming it was too cold or too wet. She just didn’t want to take any risks.  After a while my pleading wore her down and she would begin to drag out the protective gear I was forced to wear. There were no down jackets or snow suits then. So my apparel would consist of layer upon layer of my usual clothes: multiple pairs of pants, shirts, gloves, scarves, hats, coats and then the dreaded rubber boots. By the time she was finished dressing me, I was exhausted and very, very hot. Of course I could barely move. I was awkwardly pushed out the door only to return within minutes since my restricted movements did not allow for much play and I was terribly uncomfortable. I swear I believe she planned it that way to keep me inside and out of harm’s way. Over the years, I came to the conclusion that going out in winter just wasn’t worth it. Sometimes I think we can be too well prepared and restricted. I think it may limit us in ways we never even imagine. Mother only wanted to keep me safe, but when is safe too safe? Do we layer ourselves with protections that limit our potential? If no one ever took any risks, what kind of a world would it be? I’m not sure of the answer of course, but I do wonder what it feels like to sled down a steep hill with the cold, snowy wind in my face and I don’t know how to build a snowman.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Love Finds a Way – New Lessons

I have already written about our loving and giving cat, Lily. She leaves us presents of balls or other toys every time we leave the house, to find on our return. I never really expected more than what she already does for us, but Lily continues to amaze.

Of all the presents she leaves for us, she likes two particular balls best. These balls came out of a game long abandoned. One is purple and yellow and the other is green and yellow. She likes the purple one best. They are small and squishy enough for her to carry entirely in her mouth, but not inhibit the “song” she sings as she goes about her work. Even when we are only in the basement family room, we can hear her sort of half hum, half trill as she carefully places a ball on the kitchen rug or in the hall where we’ll find it as we go to bed. Often she’ll carry one downstairs and drop it (spit it out) at our feet.

A new element came into her life when we adopted a kitten, Oz. Oz plays with everything and he especially likes balls. He will bat at anything in his path, including Lily’s carefully placed balls. I admit it took us a few days to realize that Lily was no longer bringing or leaving gifts. We would find her balls in odd places all over the house. Oz. Poor Lily. We felt so bad. But what could we do? If Lily placed a ball, Oz batted it into another room. Finally one day the purple ball was completely gone. We looked for it, but it had just disappeared. Only Oz knew and he wasn’t telling!

No more gifts from Lily. We were really distraught. Lily had begun to stay upstairs in the evening by herself. She would sleep on the bed and although we would check on her regularly and encourage her to join us, she refused. After a few more days of this, we made an amazing discovery. We heard Lily singing! And when we checked on her, she was on the bed as always, but right beside her, tucked up close was the green and yellow ball! After that, there was a ball in the bed for us every night! What great joy that brought us. Lily had found a way (when we could not) of expressing her love. It took a couple of weeks for her to work it out, but she did.

Within days, the purple ball showed up. It was just out in the middle of the floor one day in plain view. Oz. So all was right with the world.

Lily came from a shelter. She was the last of a litter and no one had wanted her, so she was abandoned. When we met her over seven years ago, she was sick and not very appealing. Her nose was all crusty and her eyes were runny and sore. But we saw something there that cannot be explained. Something that compelled us to bring a sickly, unattractive, little kitten home.  Love always finds a way.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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The Quality of Christmas – published in “Lessons: The Wisdom Within Each Moment” 2012

Everyone worries about the quality of Christmas. They are afraid the economy or other unforeseen circumstances will put a damper on the festivities. But you know what I remember as the best holiday memories from the past? Every year as a child I practiced with the church choir for weeks. And then the Sunday before Christmas we performed our cantata with the chills and beauty of unpolished voices raised in the harmony of beautiful music. I remember the smell of the sack of oranges, apples and peanuts that were our treat after we performed. I remember gatherings of friends over the years – the faces have changed – but the coming together remains one of the true joys of the holiday season. I think about my first tree after I left my parents’ home. No money. No tinsel. Just two college students, some construction paper and lots of popcorn and laughter. I remember my daughter being discharged from the hospital on Christmas Day when she was eight years old after nearly dying from a ruptured appendix. No Christmas dinner that year. And oh how we didn’t mind. I think about a particularly difficult holiday meal with my family and coming home to find that my husband had cleaned the apartment from top to bottom and fixed a huge bowl of fresh strawberries – my favorite. So honestly I don’t think the economy or anything else enters into my holiday spirit at all. I don’t remember the gifts I’ve received over the years or the ones bought for others. I just know that every day is filled with blessings and why should the holiday season be any different?

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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The Toilet – New Lessons

Years ago, my first husband and I had a home built on property that he owned. It was very exciting to start from scratch and make every decision along the way. The builder was a man my parents knew from their church. We would meet with him, usually weekly, to sort out this and that, from door knobs to light fixtures and on and on. I was young and pretty particular about what I thought I wanted, so we butted heads more than once I’m afraid, but never more than over the toilet. The house had two and ½ baths. The basement toilet was easy. White would be fine. The main bathroom in the house, I was going to decorate in blues. A baby blue toilet was easy to find. But the bath off of the master bedroom was a different story. I wanted a black toilet. The master bedroom had a red/black shag carpet that ran through the main part of the house (looked better than it sounds). I wanted the bath to be black and white. I wanted a black toilet. The builder just laughed at me at. At that time, black toilets weren’t made by any company he did business with. I told him to keep looking. Every week he’d come back and say that he just could not find a black toilet. I’m sorry to say now, but I was becoming very unpleasant about the whole thing. I demanded a black toilet. Weeks went on and the house was near completion. The builder was avoiding me. Finally one day he told me he had found a black toilet. He’d have to drive about 100 miles to pick it up, and it would be more expensive than he’d estimated for that room, causing him to lose money on the deal.

It was in 1973 and I was just twenty years old. That is my only excuse. Oh, I got the black toilet I’d fought for, but less than fifteen years later, all those choices and decisions were left behind. Frankly I don’t believe I have ever thought about that toilet since, and more importantly how I treated that man. But karma is a funny thing. Just a couple of years ago I painted my present bathroom purple and white. I decided I’d like to have a purple toilet seat to match. For weeks I looked high and low and searched the internet as well, but one could not be found. I was puzzled that it was so hard to find. Never once did I think of the black toilet and what I put that poor man through. Finally I did find a purple seat, but it isn’t exactly what I wanted. I’ve never been happy with it and it will soon need to be replaced.

I put my foot up on that seat the other day to rub some lotion on my leg and swoosh! It all came back to me. The builder died a long time ago. I humbly whispered my apologies for my younger self. I can’t begin to imagine how I ever thought a toilet – or anything for that matter – was worth more than being a kind human being.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”